TSCF’s vision is to help thousands of students become servant leaders of character through the transforming gospel of Christ. Following personal conversion and guided by biblical wisdom, they will integrate faith, study, work and life, and bring cultural renewal to New Zealand’s tertiary institutions.
The four aims
1. True witness
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
The gospel calls Christian students and graduates to a unity of speech, actions and character that grabs the world’s attention and asks everyone to respond to the good news. True witness pays attention to all of the gospel’s implications. TSCF pursues true witness through its training, resources and holistic approach to discipling student leaders.
“Perhaps becoming a ‘true witness’ is like learning a piece of music. Most of us stumble through the obligatory theory lessons and take some pleasure in taking the sheet of music and carefully following the notation. A good teacher helps! With practice, our stumbles become a recognisable tune. And finally (sometimes) we play the score from our hearts, responding as the composer intended. Then, we make music. To be a true witness takes time.”
– Winsome Parnell
2. Undivided life
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Reconciliation is at the heart of the good news. The gospel “undivides” the fragmentation of daily living, the dissolution of community, gender, ethnicity, and denominations. It calls for redeemed and redeeming relationships, which only the risen Christ makes possible.
“I was a confirmed eclectic when I started at university, and a serial monogamist on the question of church. The two were linked: no single denomination or church seemed willing to countenance the breadth of spirituality – all of it within orthodox Christian tradition – on which I wanted to draw. I wanted to be contemplative, charismatic, biblically thoughtful and socially responsible. My TSCF experience was immensely freeing: I had the opportunity to undivide my life within a biblically committed, interdenominational community. More than this, I made lifelong friendships with similarly complex others; they, like me, have since sought to undivide the world around them, wherever they go. They are among the most creative people I know.”
– Matthew Scott
3. Deep thought
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
The scriptures shine light on how to think about every area of life, from studies and career to lifestyle, morality and social justice. We reject an unreflective faith. Staff workers provoke deep thought in students and graduates, from one-to-one conversations to training events with respected teachers.
“An unchallenged faith is no faith at all. TSCF has challenged, teased and provoked me into deeper questioning of the value of my Christian faith – how to relate it to practical life while being steered towards the cross. Rather than accept the Christian values passed on from others, TSCF has taught me to think deeply for myself and to make the Christian faith my own.”
– Elaine Tan
4. Global reach
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Generations of TSCFers have brought the gospel to their corners of the globe, whether in New Zealand or in far-flung lands. With the influx of international students, many from places where the gospel is barely known, the world has come to us. A global perspective and calling begins long before graduation. In our events, in our partnership with other mission organisations, and especially in our participation with IFES, TSCF shares a gospel with global reach.
“From my first IVF conference I was challenged by ‘Global Reach.’ God’s call took us to work with students and graduates in India and to teaching theology in PNG. Our lives were greatly enriched and friendships made in many places. We continue to be grateful for the global vision of the fellowship.”
– Dennis Fountain
What we believe
The Basis of Belief comprises the evangelical truths of the historic Christian faith, including:
- There is one God, who is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is the creator and sustainer of all things.
- God, in revealing himself, inspired the Holy Scriptures so that they are entirely trustworthy and have supreme authority in matters of doctrine, faith and conduct.
- We all were made for fellowship with God, but disobeyed him. So we all have become sinners, guilty in God’s sight, under his wrath, and alienated from him.
- Jesus Christ, God’s own son, became truly human. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
- Jesus Christ took the sin of the world on himself when he died on the cross as our representative and substitute. This is how God showed his love for us and provided the only way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to him.
- Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead by God.
- The Holy Spirit brings us to trust Christ and repent of our sins, lives in us, and develops our new life in Christ in the fellowship of the Church.
- Jesus Christ, the living Lord, will return in person as Judge and King.
We are united in the truth and want clarity on essential biblical doctrines. Our leaders are professing Christians. We have a Basis of Belief, and most of the student groups have a membership clause.
We are unashamed of and united in the gospel. Mobilising people into mission on campus is our main agenda.
David Bebbington (1989) identifies four markers of evangelicalism –
- Biblicism: the importance of the Bible
- Crucicentrism: the cross at the heart of the gospel
- Conversionism: God converts people
- Activism: the gospel relates to the whole of life
We work with people.
We are inclusive of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, genders and all ages. We are positive about bi-culturalism and multi-culturalism. The Treaty of Waitangi is between Maori and the British Crown on behalf of current and all future settlers, whether temporary or permanent. Student work is not just about 18- to 22-year-olds, as those on campus encompass all different ages. We also believe in men and women working together and are comfortable with women in leadership.
We are positive about inter-church involvement and recognise that some of the biggest hurdles are overcome when people see we are uniting people for mission on campus. As an interdenominational mission agency, we choose not to use the word “para-church.” It has come to mean something apart from the local church; we are committed to building up local churches as the primary place for believers to worship, serve, learn, give, grow and be sent from.
The gospel has implications for the whole of life. Part of our mission is to take the gospel to the world.
8. Student leadership
We want to see students stretched and developed, and watch each generation’s influence grow far beyond their campuses. Our motto in te reo Māori is “He akonga ki nga akonga hei ara whakawhiti mo to Karaiti” – students to students making a bridge to Christ.
Creativity and content work together in TSCF. We connect with design, arts, music and architecture students, encouraging graduates to network in creative industries.
While fun is not one of our aims, it is a value. We want to do everything in a way that celebrates life and find ways to make our time together fun.
We do not just think about ourselves as a movement. Students have a history of showing generosity in their relationships with our partners, particularly around the Pacific.
We want to positively shape what “Kiwi” means.
How do we know we are making progress? When we have stories to tell – students and graduates coming to faith, believers growing in faith, graduates developing skills and character as they head into the marketplace, and leaders heading into their own ministries.